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Popular local group Junk Yard Band call it quits

What began as show for those who disliked disco lasted 44 years

Courtesy Photo After 44 years, The Junk Yard Band played their final show on New Year’s Eve at American Legion Post 47. The band featued, from left, Rick Brown, Don Miles, Dale Pequignot, Mike Hockaday, and Jerry Farrington. Guy Platter is not pictured.

Published January 4, 2023

After 44 years, The Junk Yard Band have reached the end of the line, although components will be salvaged.

“I’m somewhat sad that it’s ending, and I would probably keep going on, myself,” co-founder and lead singer Dale Pequignot said ahead of their final show on New Year’s Eve at American Legion Post 47.

And he actually will continue going alongside Bob Hockaday and Jerry Farrington as The Junk Yard Brothers, who will perform slimmed down sets, but it won’t be the group that was named the No. 1 local band in The Journal Gazette’s reader’s poll from 2003-07.

“We’ve always played great rock n’ roll,” Pequignot said. “Starting 44 year ago, a lot of great rock n’ roll was ’50s rock n’ roll and ’60s rock n’ roll. But we’ve always played ’70s and ’80s rock n’ roll. We’re a cover band. We’ve done some original material, but we know our place in the world: We’re a cover band and we play what people like.”

Born out of disdain for disco

The inception of The Junk Yard Band might be as unique as their longevity.

Teaching at Northwood Middle School, Pequignot and Hockaday decided something needed to be done about apparent takeover of disco in the Summit City.

“He and I found out we had a mutual interest in rock n’ roll and we pretty sick of disco,” Pequignot said. “There were no more rock bands in clubs. They all disappeared. It was all disco. Mike and I had played in bands in college, and we had abandoned that because we had started our careers: We were both teachers. We had gotten married and had kids, and when Mike and I hooked up, it was like, ‘Let’s play some rock n’ roll. We are sick of this disco.’ ”

With Pequignot singing and drumming and Hockaday on guitar, the two would recruit different guys to fill out the band while playing shows at Pelz Reception Hall on Freeman Street, which is now Lunz Reception Hall. That space became so identifiable with the band that it played a role in their name. 

“Back then, it was right next door to a junk yard, a salvage yard,” Pequignot said. “We threw the parties, and people flocked to them. People were hungry to hear some rock n’ roll. People just started calling them junk-yard parties and us The Junk Yard Band.”

Eventually, Pequignot and Hockaday brought in a couple of permanent players, and they didn’t have to go too far to find them.

“I got my brother-in-law in on it, Dave Patton, and Mike got his buddy Bob Sweigert,” Pequignot said.

Playing through pain

In the early ’90s, the quartet became a quintet following a health scare.

“I had the heart attack while we were opening for (Jefferson) Starship at the Three Rivers Festival,” Pequignot said.

“I’m drumming fast and furious and singing the songs, and I just started feeling a pain up my neck. I just thought, ‘Oh, this isn’t right,’ but we had strict instructions on when to stop: couldn’t go over time, couldn’t stop short. So, I’m looking at the clock and thinking, ‘We have 30 minutes to go.’ I finished playing, and I knew something was terribly wrong. I ditched out of there real quick, and the Starship drummer wanted to use some of my gear. I told our roadie to just give him whatever he wanted. I was leaving it all behind.”

After checking himself in at Lutheran Hospital, Pequignot had to cut back on drumming. That’s when Don Miles entered the band, where he stayed the ensuing three decades.

“Don was such a good fit,” Pequignot said. “I really hated to give up drumming, but it was so much more fun to sing without being encumbered by the drums, too. We kept Don, and it was such a good decision.”

Eventually, Patton and Sweigert stepped away, and Farrington and Rick Brown stepped in, although Brown now spends his winters in Florida, with Guy Platter filling in for him when needed.

Updating classic rock catalog

When you play in a classic rock cover band for 44 years, some of the songs that were not even released when you began become classics, and that hasn’t been lost on Pequignot.

“We think we’re playing some newer stuff, and we say, ‘Well, guys, this song is 40 years old.’ ” he joked.

And the crowds at their shows could not care less.

“We’re all older now, way older, so our crowd is a little older now,” Pequignot said. “We’re playing Legions and things like that, but that’s been a gold mine for us actually. But that’s our scene. We’ll do some outdoor festivals at Jefferson Pointe and Georgetown and we travel to a lot of smaller cities for the concerts in the park.”

The Junk Yard Band was playing about 75 shows a year, but will now get a needed rest … at least some of them will. 

The Junk Yard Brothers are already scheduling gigs for this year.


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